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Judge sides with Grayeyes in residency dispute

WINDOW ROCK

A Utah judge has confirmed newly elected San Juan County (Utah) Commissioner Willie Grayeyes is indeed a resident of the county, thwarting the latest attempt by white Republicans in the county to maintain the balance of power they have held for decades.

Submitted

Willie Grayeyes

Grayeyes’ Republican opponent in the election, Kelly Laws, had challenged the election results, saying Grayeyes does not reside in the county but rather spends most of his time in Arizona, and owns a trailer in Page.

In an eight-hour trial in Monticello, Utah, last Tuesday, Grayeyes contended he spends 60 to 80 percent of his time in Navajo Mountain, Utah, staying with relatives, although he does sometimes stay with his girlfriend in Tuba City.

Testimony confirmed he had been a registered voter in San Juan County since 1984.

Utah 7th District Judge Don M. Torgerson Tuesday ruled in favor of Grayeyes, writing, “He is connected to San Juan County as deeply as any resident of the county. In practice, he has always participated in the voting process in San Juan County.

“And his rich cultural history adds to his connection — he has always returned to the area and will always intend to return to the area when he has travelled away,” Torgerson wrote.

Torgerson also chided Laws for filing the challenge on the last possible day to do so. He ordered Laws to pay Grayeyes’ attorney fees.


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About The Author

Cindy Yurth

Cindy Yurth is the Tséyi' Bureau reporter, covering the Central Agency of the Navajo Nation. Her other beats include agriculture and Arizona state politics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in technical journalism from Colorado State University with a cognate in geology. She has been in the news business since 1980 and with the Navajo Times since 2005, and is the author of “Exploring the Navajo Nation Chapter by Chapter.” She can be reached at cyurth@navajotimes.com.